Be Aware of What Beat You Start Your Solo

Yes, the title says it all. A good way to think about soloing is: how you start dictates where you’ll go.

So if we take a look at the available beats in a measure:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

We’ll note there’s eight places we can start. A good way to start thinking about it is to divide it in half and try to think of your phrase being a part of the current measure or a way to propel you to the next measure. Most often where you start your solo depends on the context in which you’re soloing. If there’s a vocal part or another melodic passage you may want to wait until that’s done until you start your solo. If not you may want to start your solo on measure prior on the later half of the measure to lead into the beginning note.

Here are a few samples of a lick starting on different beats and take a listen to how the same lick starting on different beats changes the overall feel of the lick:

Beat 1 –

+ of 1 –

Beat 2 –

+ of 2 –

Beat 3 –

+ of 3 –

4 –

+ of 4 –

Now this is just with one lick and I wanted to keep the same lick phrased similarly to point out the contrast of just how a half a beat can make a huge difference. In reality I tend to phrase things differently depending on where you start. You will notice how sometimes I’ll hang on a certain note a little longer depending on where I start. Pretty cool huh?!

Now this might seem a bit tedious… counting before you solo?! In reality, the more you do it, the more natural these differences become and the less you have to count.

So go ahead, open up your ears to how these subtle differences can lead you down a whole different path of your lead guitar playing journey! 🙂